Gist of the matter is just three points
- Tamilnadu operates the dam in Kerala. wants to increase water level in it.
- Kerala worries that dam will get destroyed anytime soon due to old age or earthquake. Hence enacted a law to decrease water level in it.
- Supreme court says Kerala law is wrong, Tamilnadu is right.
What is MullaperyarDam?
- Type: a masonry gravity dam.
- River: confluence of Periyar river and Mullayar river
- place: Thekkady, Kerala. The dam site is in Kerala but is leased to TN
- Provides irrigation to South Tamil Nadu (~2 lakh acres)
- Periyar river originates from Ananamalai Hills and Joins sea near Ernakulam
- TN has right to utilise and maintain the dam.
|1970||Governments of Kerala and Tamilnadu ratified this agreement.|
- In mid-70s, Kerala became worried about leakage from the dam and wanted Tamilnadu to repair it.
- Kerala govt. communicated with union.
- Union government directed Tamilnadu state government to
- Repair this dam.
- Keep water level in the dam at 145 feet.
- Now, Union believed there is no longer any danger to the structure.
- 2006: SC allowed Tamilandu to raise water height to 152 feet after strengthening the dam. (Total height of the dam is 176 feet).
- But Kerala passed a law the Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation (Amendment) Act, 2006, to prevent the neighboring State (TN) from raising the water level beyond 136 feet.
- Tamilnadu challenged Kerala’s dam height law in Supreme court.
|Kerala’s stand||Tamilnadu’s stand|
|Without raising water level in this dam, we cannot sustain our agriculture and drinking water requirement.|
|this 119 year old dam poses danger to life and property nearly 4 million people downstream||We’ve done adequate work to strengthen the dam structure.|
|There was a minor earthquake near dam site. Infact, we want to reduce water level further to 120 feet.||Tremors were very minor. No danger to dam.|
|2010: Kerala demanded that entire dam be dismantled and we construct a new, stronger dam. (Kerala was ready to pay entire expense)||Disagreed. For it’ll take lot time to setup new dam, what about the farm-irrigation in the meantime?|
2010: Justice Anand Committee says dam is safe. Mullaperiyar dam poses no danger to idduki dam.
May 2014: Supreme Court order
- Kerala dam Law of 2006 is unconstitutional and void.
- Because Mullaperiyar is a dispute between two states. In such disputes, one state legislature cannot unilaterally enact law in its own favor.
- Besides, in 2006 we had allowed Tamilandu to raise water height. By enacting g this law, Kerala is interfering with our judicial function.
- Permitted Tamilnadu to increase water level upto 142 feet. (present ~136ft)
- Union government decided to setup a Committee to supervise this water rising.
- Kerala planning to file a review petition in SC.
- Kerala assembly requested President of India to refer the matter to the Supreme Court under Article 143
Q1. Consider following statements about Mullaperiyar dam
- it’s built on the Mullaperiyar river which originates from Annamallai hills
- At present, Tamilnadu owns and operates the dam
- Maharaja of Travancore had built this dam by taking a lease from Madras presidency.
The incorrect statements are
- only 1 and 2
- only 2 and 3
- only 1 and 3
- none of them
Q2. Which of the following is a plausible way to resolve Mullaperiyar dam controversy
- If Tamilnadu pays electricity tax dues to Kerala state government, for using the hydroelectricity of Mullaperiyar dam
- If Tamilnadu pays compensation to displaced Keralites living in the upstream, before increasing the height of this dam
- If Tamilnadu agrees to divert part of the water from this dam to Kerala farmers in Idduki and other downstream regions.
- None of them
Interview Question: What is the controversy surrounding Mullaperiyar dam? What is SC’s latest judgment on it? What is the permanent solution to this issue?
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